Sydney, Australia (PressExposure) October 21, 2009 -- Standard passenger car and four-wheel drive owners are being encouraged to recognise each other's rights as road users after independent research revealed divisions between the two vehicle classifications on a number of issues.
"On every measure, AAMI's research (*1) showed stark contrasts between passenger car (*2) and 4x4 drivers about road entitlements and obligations," said AAMI Corporate Affairs Manager Mike Sopinski.
Among the findings: - More than three-quarters of passenger car drivers (77 per cent) think four-wheel drives do not belong in the city (compared to 21 per cent of 4x4 drivers); - Three-quarters (75 per cent) think four-wheel drives, while safer for their occupants, are more dangerous for other road users (compared to 19 per cent of 4x4 drivers); - Two-thirds (66 per cent) think four-wheel drives should be subject to higher registration fees (compared to just eight per cent of 4x4 drivers); - Two-thirds (67 per cent) are intimidated driving close to a four-wheel drive (compared to 22 per cent of 4x4 drivers); and - One in eight (12 per cent) consider four-wheel drives to be the greatest road hazard (compared to one per cent of 4x4 drivers).
"It is of concern that road users hold such strong views about their follow motorists and this may spill over into driving behavior. We therefore urge drivers of all vehicle types to come to a better understanding of their common rights and obligations," Mr Sopinski said.
Claim patterns show similar incident risk
Four-wheel drives remain enormously popular, as evidenced by their increasing penetration of the passenger vehicle market (*3). But despite some commonly held views, there is no evidence they are more frequently involved in crashes.
A review of AAMI insurance claims from the 12 months to July 2009 shows 4x4 drivers claimed for fewer crashes than standard car drivers. Nationally, car drivers insured with AAMI had a crash claims incidence rate of 17.82 compared with 16.13 for 4x4 drivers (*4).
Safety is common ground
Drivers of cars and 4WD vehicles are also finding common ground around safety aspects. For example, both driver groups are supportive of a rear camera requirement. 4WD drivers in particular find it difficult to see objects in their rear view mirror when reversing, which has prompted many manufacturers to offer rear cameras as standard or as an optional extra.
"Our study suggests that a better mutual understanding amongst drivers of all vehicle types would have a beneficial impact on driving behaviours. Clearly, all drivers share the objective to make road travel safer, so we encourage them to share the road in an understanding and responsible manner," Mr Sopinski concluded.
References: (*1) Based on an independent telephone and internet survey of 2503 Australians, conducted by Sweeney Research across all states and territories. Collected data is carefully weighted in line with current ABS population demographics to ensure any extrapolation of results is representative of age, gender and population on a regional, state and national basis. (*2) Passenger cars include small, medium and large sedans and hatchbacks. (*3) In the 10 years to 2005, four-wheel-drive sales increased by 280 per cent to one in every five sales, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan, 2005. (*4) Claims per 100 customers per year.